Judge Marsha Russell’s legal career spans more than two decades, much of it in the courtroom, even before her appointment to the bench in 2010 by Gov. Martin O’Malley. However, with an undergraduate degree in biology and an early career that included microbiology lab work, Judge Russell did not initially appear to be headed for judge’s chambers of her own.
About five years into a career at a lab in Baltimore City, Judge Russell said that machines began playing a larger role in her work, leaving her looking for a change of careers for one that would offer more of a challenge. As she watched her cousin, and roommate at the time, complete her final year of law school, Judge Russell said she realized that the law might offer her the very challenge she was seeking. Soon after, Judge Russell said she was taking the LSAT and was beginning her legal education at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
In her second year of law school, Judge Russell began her work with the Baltimore County Office of the State’s Attorney as a law clerk. Her connection to the State’s Attorney’s office would continue for almost over two decades, as she handled cases in the county’s District and Circuit Courts. Especially rewarding, she said, was her time in the domestic violence unit, where she felt her work made a difference in victims’ lives.
“You do a lot of talking with people, helping them to understand what the processes are,” Judge Marshall said. “I found that really rewarding.” This is a skill, she says, she brings with her to the judge’s bench.
Judge Marshall also underscored how important respect has been to her career and is a piece of advice she gives to attorneys starting out in the profession. “If you put your best foot forward, work hard, and respect people, they give you the same respect. I always try to give that to others.”
Though she has an impressive legal career, Judge Marshall also makes time for her family and some of the simple pleasures. She said she enjoys spending time with her husband, college-aged stepson, and son, who is a high school student. These are a few other things worth knowing about the judge’s interests:
Favorite Restaurant: Bonefish Grill
Pet Peeve: Excessive talking in the courtroom.
Sports teams: Ravens and Orioles
Ice cream: Pumpkin anything.
Favorite music: Christian and Gospel music
Station on car radio 95.1 Shine FM
Guilty Pleasure: Having a book to Read
Favorite Charity: Pediatric cancer charities
Favorite Book: None. Reads a variety of books.
Favorite Movie: Sister Act
Favorite Travel destination: Spain was a favorite for me.
Person most like to meet: MLK JR
Career if not an attorney and judge: Always wanted to be an actor or singer.